That’s a wrap, folks!

Well EC&I 834 community, I cannot believe how quickly this semester has gone by. The end is near and we have come a long way together. Through the process of completing our prototype projects, we have learned about a variety of online and digital resources as well as pedagogical elements that applies to online learning environments. We now have the tools to create online or blended-learning material based on a variety of artefacts and learning experiences that we have discovered together, but in different ways.

This week, we were asked to discuss our prototype projects before we submit them. Like my group member Jayme, I also found the prototype project to be consuming and overwhelming. At times, I felt confused about its components and was not always confident that my group and I were on the right track. However, I really appreciated how Alec and Katia were available to answer any questions or concerns we may have had. Also, the Google+ Community proved to be a helpful space for when we had questions regarding the prototype project. Throughout this course, each week we covered a variety of online and digital resources, which enabled us to explore new tools and assisted in the development of our prototype project. Andres did a terrific job describing our experience using Google Classroom and our LMS platform. Within his post, he explains why we chose to use Google Classroom based on our experiences using a variety of google apps and resources. Choosing our LMS platform was definitely one of the easiest decisions we made.

While working with Google Classroom, my group and I were able to identify both the pros and cons of using this digital tool.

Pros:
– Clean and user-friendly interface
– Going paperless
– Access from any device
– Effective Communication and sharing
– Provide timely feedback
– Personalized learning

Cons:
– Difficult account management
– Lacks room for customization
– Editing problems due to automatic reformatting
– Letter size and fonts cannot be adjusted
– Impersonal

This assignment was a pleasant one. I enjoyed the flexibility and openness that it offered. I also appreciated how the details of this assignment flowed with the weekly teachings, this deepened my understanding of the content. I also learned with this assignment that creating digital content is possible, even to someone who may feel they are not too experienced working with technology. Creating digital content can be fun and also contributes to a unique learning experience. Within this assignment, my group and I had the opportunity to create content in the form of modules as well as artefact videos. This is something I have never done before and now I can say that I have!

Overall, I am very pleased with our prototype project. I truly enjoyed working with Andres and Jayme as collaborating was easy, teamwork was evident, and we challenged each other by taking on a different digital tool to focus on. Creating a prototype project has definitely opened my eyes to all of the different digital tools and resources that are available through online and blended learning courses. Furthermore, I’ve enjoyed my interactions with all of you! I look forward to seeing everyone’s prototypes and summary of learning projects! I am excited to see what all of you have been working on this semester! Also, thank you Alec and Katia for introducing me to the variety of the digital tools and platforms I have not seen/used before!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Open education…authentic sharing?

For this week’s blog post, we were asked to reflect upon the idea of openness in education. So far, my experience involving open education has been extremely positive. Due to the flexibility that somewhat comes hand in hand with open education, I now realize that as a teacher and an adult learner, knowledge literally has no limits! Moreover, open education offers a unique, authentic learning experience and helps us grow into the future.

With open education, what we are learning and how we wish to learn appears to be flexible in the sense that it offers somewhat of an unstructured format, allowing learners to explore other people’s perspectives while considering our own. Open education provides a variety of forums which allows for people to expand their knowledge through a collective experience. For instance, being a member of EC&I 834 has allowed me to share my thoughts and opinions as well as learn about my fellow classmates perspectives in regards to similar topics, through class discussions, blogging and using Twitter. Not only is this refreshing, but it continually helps to better my understanding. As adult learners, we may not always have similar perspectives about particular subjects but this does not necessarily mean the information we share is inaccurate or demands its authenticity to be questioned. Open education presents us with the opportunity to study others and to consider numerous perspectives in order to enhance our learning experience.

This week, my classmate Amy Singh wrote a fantastic blog post about open education. She explains how she enjoys the concept of open education tremendously and how its flexibility offers an exciting yet challenging learning experience. She also shares her experience with using Learning Management Systems and how they offer a “one size fits all” mentality, leaving little or no room for collaborative or cooperative involvement. She also notes how closed forums are limited and offer less opportunities for discussion, which contributes to deepening a person’s understanding of information. With that being said, I’d like to thank you, Amy. Thank you for sharing your experience with both open and closed forums. Your perspective regarding open education has contributed to my learning and is a perfect example of the effectiveness of open education!

As a Grade 3/4 teacher, it has been difficult to provide my students with the experience to work with open forums. Within this specific age group, working with closed forums may appear to be somewhat simpler and more effective. My reasoning for this is based on the limited experience my students have with technology and digital resources. As noted in Benita’s blog this week, she states,

“I think that open learning is more challenging in a school setting. Kids are not trained to be self- educators yet. They thrive on structure and guidance. I do think that there is opportunities for open learning within the closed format”.

I agree with Benita’s statement as teaching students how to navigate through closed forums can prove to be a challenging experience. However, it is important for educators to not rule out openness in education because of these challenges but rather find ways to incorporate open education by offering their students choices and the opportunity to gain deeper understanding of concepts.

What are your thoughts regarding openness in education? How do you determine whether the information being shared with you is authentic? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for stopping by!

Project prototype is well underway!

For this week’s blog post, we were asked to provide an updated description regarding our course prototype project as well as elaborate on any progress we have made. Within the past few weeks, my group and I have made a great deal of progress, establishing many important details/elements that will be included within our prototype project. Therefore, allow me to share the details about what my group and I have accomplished thus far, starting with the details listed within our course profile.

Jayme-Lee, Andres and I decided the course format for our prototype project will be based on the blended-learning concept, simply because all three of us appreciate the combination of face-to-face instruction and the use of online digital tools. As for the course subject and grade level, we chose to focus on English Language Arts at the Grade 6 level. But most importantly, the purpose of our course prototype project is to provide students with the opportunity to create digital content. Within Andres blog post for this week, he thoroughly describes the goals outlined for our project as well as provides a detailed portrayal of what our project will resemble, from start to finish.

“Students will learn how to use various online and digital tools to help them find new ways of representing their written work. The final project: the summary of learning, will be an amalgamation of everything the students learned throughout the unit. The unit will focus on scaffolding and providing students with the skills necessary to create a final product. The unit has been designed with student collaboration in mind, meaning students will work, interact and collaborate with other students in various ways. The final project will require students to pair up with their reading buddies to create a narrated digital story”.

Due to the stresses technology can sometimes bring, Jayme-Lee explains the purpose for the Grade 6 students actively working alongside with a reading buddy in Grade 1. She states,

“We have all been in situations where technology has been a challenge, especially those teachers in the younger grades. Students are unable to log on; internet access is low etc. So what better way to get our students using technology then to buddy them up with an older student who perhaps more experience using these tools, apps, resources etc. We have decided that our buddies will be a big part of our project, involved, commenting, providing feedback, learning etc”.

Therefore, our group decided that working with technology and online tools is possible for the younger grades and may work to the students’ advantage, if they are presented with the opportunity to work with a student in an older grade. By doing this, student interaction and collaboration will occur and may also promote digital citizenship, along with respect for the various online tools the younger grades have not yet been exposed to.

We have decided to use Google Classroom as our LMS platform and for a collaborative space where we may upload various Google documents, our course profile, modules and our artifact videos. Furthermore, Google Classroom provides an environment where our students have access to the information they will need for our prototype project but also have access to numerous resources and tools if they require additional support. Within our project, we designed Google Classroom to be the primary source for teacher and student interaction as the Grade 6 students already have access to and have experience working with Google Classroom and creating Google documents. Google Classroom also allows the students to work at their own pace and is beneficial for all types of learners.

As outlined in Andres blog post, our course prototype project will be set up in the form of “how-to tutorials”, paired up with assignments as well as assessments for each module. The modules of our project are listed as follows:

– How to use Read&Write for Google Chrome (for assisted learning and when students are brainstorming ideas for their narrative stories with their reading buddies).
– How to use Google Docs, Google Drive and other cloud-based software.
– How to use animation tools such as Videoscribe, Powtoon, Telegami and Puppet Pals.
– How to film using your device. Students will learn the basics to simple screenwriting and script writing; they will be given tips on what makes for good and captivating cinematography; and how to capture good footage for your project.
– How to edit videos and raw footage using Windows Movie Maker, iMovie or other video editors.
– How to create podcasts (learning how to use audio recording software such as GarageBand and Audacity for podcasts and narratives for our stories).
– How to narrate and add life to your videos and digital artifacts.
– How to create a time-lapse video.
– Final project. Summary of learning: a narrated digital storybook that combines everything we learned in the unit.

Overall, our prototype project is progressing smoothly and my group and I are enjoying working together! We are determined to provide our students with a variety of digital tools to work with so they may experiment and find new ways to represent their work as well as actively collaborate with other students. I am eager to see how our final product turns out and I am excited to share it with all of you!

Thanks again for stopping by!